Unemployment in Israel reached a record low of 5.5 percent in November, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics report published on Tuesday.
The plunge in the unemployment rate means there are currently 204,000 jobless Israelis, down by 11,000 in a single month. The unemployment rate has fallen by 1.4 percent from 6.9% midway through last year.
However, the past year marked a growth of only 3.3% in Israel's economy, less than the majority of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, but still higher than Bank of Israel predictions. The Tamar gas field, estimated to contribute 1% to the economy's growth, did not bring additional growth.
Quality of life rose by 2% per capita in 2013, but did not affect the greater public, with per capita growth rising by only 1.4%. However, the overall gross domestic product surpassed a trillion shekels ($288 billion) for the first time -- a record high.
Housing prices rose by 9.4% this past year, making a cumulative jump of 77.4% since 2008. Rent prices climbed as well, rising by an average of 17% since January 2011.
The forecasts for 2014 are not very encouraging, with the Bank of Israel and the Finance Ministry predicting a nominal growth of only 3% in what would be the first standstill since 2003. Unemployment is expected to rise to 6.9%, with an additional 50,000 Israelis left unemployed.
As of Jan. 1, public transportation is set to increase by 4.7%, 95-octane gasoline is to rise by 0.05 shekels to 7.45 shekels ($2.15) per liter, the lottery tax is set to jump by 5% to 30% of winnings over 50,000 shekels ($14,400) , property taxes are to go up by 3.4% on average and electricity costs are expected to rise by 5% in April.
However, the price of water is set to drop by 5%, the price of milk will fall by 0.13 shekels per liter, the price of state-subsidized dairy products will fall by 1.1%, and the prices of white cheese and sweet cream will fall by 20%.